January 31, 2023

Local Church Opens Its Doors to Visiting Bikers

Baton Rouge Adventist members donned biker garb as they got ready to welcome guests.

Southwestern Union Conference Record, and Adventist Review
Bikers attending an annual National Bikers Roundup in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, United States, also visited the local Adventist church on Saturday, after members got ready to welcome them. [Photo: Southwestern Union Conference Record]

The Baton Rouge Seventh-day Adventist Church members are a diverse group, in both their physical makeup and interests. Members love to fellowship together, bless one another in any way they can, welcome community guests, and pray together. 

The congregation, located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, United States, held its first Motorcycle Ministry Sabbath in 2022. A few months earlier, when local pastor Michael Cerda shared that the Southwestern Union Conference had asked the congregation to host bikers from all over the country, there was a unified laugh followed by thoughtful silence. “We weren’t sure how to host bikers. But we could read the excitement and confidence from Cerda and we, too, became excited,” church member Tracy Francis said. “[The pastor] said, ‘We’ll dress like them and welcome whoever comes through the door.’ And we did!”

During the annual National Bikers Roundup, more than 1,000 motorcycle clubs (three of them Seventh-day Adventist) and 30,000 bikers would make the Baton Rouge area home for five days. The Southwestern Union had a booth under the direction of Helvis Moody, youth and young adult ministry director. Moody had once served in Baton Rouge and still has friends in the city, many of them bikers, who were happy to assist with the booth and with the events of the weekend. At the Southwestern Union booth, the group was eager to share Jesus by handing out special editions of the book Steps to Christ called Steps to Jesus: The Ride of Your Life.

Church service that particular Saturday (Sabbath) was an inspiring and memorable time. Baton Rouge church member Kevin Jenkins taught the Sabbath School, having ridden to church on his Harley and being comfortably attired in the fashion of the day. A Southwestern Union representative explained the concept behind the Steps to Jesus: The Ride of Your Life books and shared a copy with every person in attendance. During the worship service hour, Moody led a rousing prayer, and Henry Jones of the Baton Rouge Berean Seventh-day Adventist Church shared a beautiful music number, “Falling in Love with Jesus.” The speaker of the hour was Donald Clark of Oklahoma. He shared a message entitled “His Return” and led in an anointing service together with Cerda.

After the service, Moody blessed the many motorcycles and bikers in the parking area with a special ceremony and prayer; then everyone was invited to stay for a fellowship meal. 

A young man whose mother was once a member happened to be passing by the church on his motorcycle and saw all the other motorcycles parked at the church. He decided to stop and see what was going on. 

“We believe the Holy Spirit led him, and we pray that he will come back as we all remember the Sabbath day which was full of Christ-centered fun and inclusion for all of God’s children,” Francis said. “ ‘May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God’ ” [Romans 15:5-7], he quoted from the Bible.

‍The original version of this story was posted by the Southwestern Union Conference Record.